BARCELONA – Joan Laporta, president of Barcelona, does not allow himself, at least outside the door, to be carried away by the uneasiness that can be guessed in the club’s environment due to his weakened financial situation that, for the moment, does not allow the announced continuity to be officially closed by Lionel Messi.
“Everything is going well … Calm down”, said, laconic and brief, last Wednesday the president upon his arrival at the offices, warning that the intention of the club remains the same and patience is equally necessary, admitting the engineering work to the one that Barça faces.
The Barça club, to which LaLiga cut the salary limit in the last winter market to 347 million euros from the almost 383 it had at the beginning of last year or the 671 it enjoyed in the 2019-20 season, awaits to know the new provisions of the Spanish football employers’ association to know, exactly, to what extent the belt should continue to be adjusted in terms of the salaries of its players. Various information put the amount to be lowered at close to 200 million and although a LaLiga source warned ESPN Digital that “the amounts have not yet been specified,” club sources acknowledged the need to continue reducing sports payrolls, a task in the that the executives are focused with Mateu Alemany at the helm.
Barcelona faces an unknown scenario in recent years, such as contemplating that its ceiling in terms of the sports salary bill was barely above 150 million euros, an amount exceeded by Europa League clubs and that causes a logical uneasiness , even alarm, at the Camp Nou. And it is that the famous “You have to fit into the financial ‘fair play'” that Laporta proclaimed on June 30 to explain the delay in terms of the agreement with Messi is caused by that skyrocketing salary mass of the staff, which is already well known higher than the limit established by the employer.
The already concrete cases of Jean Claire Todibo, Junior Firpo, Trincao or Konrad de la Fuente, which have brought him an income of almost 24 million euros and savings in salaries calculated in another 16 are the first … But neither the last nor, much less, the most important. Samuel Umtiti and Miralem Pjanic; Philippe Coutinho, Martin Braithwaite, Neto, Carles Aleñá, Sergi Roberto, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé or Clement Lenglet are, to a greater extent (indisputable the first, possible the last) indicated to leave Barça in a cleaning operation as necessary as it is complicated for carry out…
The club, as ESPN explained, seeks the departure of at least ten footballers and renegotiates contracts with those who remain in the club. In this scenario, in the best of cases, it could aspire to reduce the salary cost of its workforce to adapt to the regulations of an employer’s association in charge of which Javier Tebas already warned that he would not make any exceptions.
The salary cost includes both fixed and variable salaries as well as the expenses associated with a transfer (it is understood as payment of commissions to third parties) and also the amortization of the footballer. This is the price of your transfer divided by the seasons of your contract. The sum of all this establishes the salary mass, which in the case of the Barça squad has already been lowered from the 671 million it had in 2018.
The departure of Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suárez, Arturo Vidal and Nelson Semedo in the summer of 2020 already meant a saving in this section of more than 70 million euros for the club, but now, weighed down by losses that venture around the 300 million, the new leaders are obliged to continue with a policy of cuts that the Josep María Bartomeu board did not dare to carry out.
The loan of Francisco Trincao to Wolverhampton Wanderers, which was added to the transfer of Todibo to Nice and that of Junior Firpo to Leeds United will follow, released about 25 million euros that are only the tip of the iceberg, adding the 3 million paid for by the sale of Konrad de la Fuente to the Olympique de Marseille.
But it is necessary to free up more salary space, and not a little, to get ahead and the executives of the Barça club are focused on this with Mateu Alemany at the helm. There are three players, as ESPN Digital has been explaining, who are on the podium of interest at the Camp Nou: Umtiti, Pjanic and Coutinho. While awaiting the recovery of the Brazilian, the first two steps have already been taken by offering them a letter of freedom that in both cases has not been consummated.
Giving in to Pjanic, understanding that a transfer when there are still 45 million euros pending amortization of his signing is utopian, it would mean a saving of 14 million euros for Barcelona; an optimistic scenario and much less affordable in the case of Umtiti, whose annual salary cost reaches 22 million that today is considered unaffordable for any club.
In this way, an incentivized discharge as happened with Luis Suárez would be seen as a lesser evil with which to save at least 10 million since the club has decided that the French center-back will not follow Ronald Koeman’s orders in any way.
The scenario with Coutinho, who as Umtiti maintains a contract until 2023, is not very different and we are working to find him a loan similar to the one he starred in in the 2019-20 season with Bayern Munich and that could mean a saving of more than 25 million of euros.
Finding a way out for the three footballers, with the incentivized leave of Umtiti and the transfer of Pjanic and Coutinho would cause a saving of another 49 million, which would already approach a total of 80 million … Still below the needs.
From here other players enter the scene who are looking for accommodation outside the club to continue reducing. The transfer of Braithwaite is considered feasible, with whom there are 11 million remaining to be amortized, which is understood to be recovered from the sale to also save a salary cost of more than 6 million, reaching with it another total saving of 17 million.
A transfer of Neto would compute losses as long as it was not for the 16 million that remain to be amortized from his transfer, although a transfer (he maintains a market in England) would cause another 6 million in savings, such as with Carles Aleñà (about 5 million).
Until then, they would have accounted for a little more than 100 million with which to lighten the salary mass of the staff, to which we must continue to reach out, with other players less untouchable than would be supposed, such as Antoine Griezmann and others who are loved retouch, and not a little, his contract.
The salary of the French striker annually costs Barcelona more than 24 million euros but his departure is understood from the beginning very difficult since, under contract until 2024 there are more than 80 million euros to be amortized from his signing and a club does not venture willing to bet on their incorporation.
If Marc Andre Ter Stegen has already renewed downwards, like Frenkie de Jong and Lenglet, his continuity in the current terms is a fact … except in the case of the French, for whom Barça would welcome an offer even lower than the 15 million that remain to be amortized from his signing to save a gross salary close to 7 million euros.
From here, as prominent names are Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, whose salary sum means Barcelona an annual expense of more than 60 million and that the club intends to renegotiate downwards without excuses. The center-back, who already had a conversation with Joan Laporta, is willing to accept new conditions, but from his teammates, now concentrated with the Spanish team, there is still no news.
Missing, of course, the case of Dembélé, injured during the Eurocup and who closed the door to any immediate transfer option that was considered feasible at the Camp Nou. The disappointment was evident, understanding that its sale would leave an obvious profit because it would always be well above the 24 million that remain to be amortized from its signing … And that the saving of its file would be close to 20 million.